The is the first chapter of The Descent. I am so happy to be able to finally begin posting this, and I hope that you all enjoy reading it as much as I did writing. It is inspired by various things, and part of it (chapter titles, themes) runs along the theme of Dante's Inferno.

It is rated M for mature content. It has also been labeled as Angst for a reason. Obviously, things happen. At the beginning of each chapter, I'll post any warnings specific to that chapter.

Disclaimer: I don't own TMI or Alec or Magnus or anything. If I did, I'm pretty sure we know what wouldn't have happened in CoLS.

First Circle: Limbo

Perhaps it all began too soon.

Alec Lightwood doesn't like the number or the age fifteen, not at first. He likes fourteen slightly more, and thirteen a lot more than both. It's a better number.

Although, he thinks, his parents probably hated his thirteen year old self. It's supposed to be the worst year, the start of puberty, right? Though compared to Izzy (who's just reached that age) he was probably an angel.

So yeah. Fifteen's definitely worse than thirteen.

And people… People are boring.

So he has school, and he gets good grades, and is praised by his parents, and he helps Izzy out with her homework. All as usual. All the same.

Alec gets to school as usual, the sidewalks covered in brown leaves as usual, sits in homeroom reading a book for fifteen minutes while his classmates chatter around him.

His teacher gets there a few seconds after the bell sounds, which is surprising. She's usually on time or early, and she looks a bit flustered.

"Er, right, sorry I'm late, everyone, I'll just take the roll…"

Alec partially zones out as she does so, watching the stragglers to class run across the pavement outside.

His concentration - and the teacher - is interrupted by the door opening noisily.

You would think that it would be beneficial for students' concentration for doors to not be so creaky.

"I'm sorry I'm late, the classroom numbers were confusing." The voice isn't one Alec recognises, which wouldn't be particularly surprising if he hadn't spent the last year and a bit with this homeroom. And if he hasn't worked out the classroom layout yet-

"Ah, you're the new student! Right! Come out to the front, so you can introduce yourself, I don't bite- students, that is."

The husky laugh that replies to his teacher's statement has him turning to watch the new kid walk up the side of the room despite his usual disinterest.

He's tall, probably taller than Alec - and Alec's taller than most people his age, thanks to an earlier growth spurt than most boys - and even thinner than him, too.

But while Alec knows that he probably would have, well, scuttled up towards the teacher's desk, uncomfortable with the curious gazes on him, the newcomer practically struts past everyone, a smile casually flashed as he scans the room briefly.

His turn to face the class is confident, as if he's a model, or was in a past life.

"My name's Magnus Bane, and I'm very obviously new here. I would say that it's nice to meet you," Alec's breath catches as he almost openly declares social war on the room- "but I haven't actually talked to any of you yet, so it's nice to see your lovely faces." The grin he displays is charming enough that the room breaks out into chuckles, while the teacher looks a little bemused and waves him to the only spare seat in the room.

Right next to Alec.

He pretends not to follow Magnus down the aisle of seats with his eyes, doesn't watch him as he slides gracefully into his seat and let his satchel fall to the floor.

Actually looks away for a few seconds until his arm is poked none too gently.

Magnus' eyes are on him, a twinkle dancing merrily in the odd combination of green and gold. "Can I borrow a pencil?"

Alec retrieves one wordlessly from his pencil case and hands it over.

"Thank you," he looks down at the end, where Alec has scraped off the paint and written his name. "Alexander Lightwood."

Alec finds out for this first time how blinding the smiles of Magnus Bane can be when used at full power, and can't help but smile a little in return.

Magnus pulls a ripped piece of paper from his bag before returning his gaze to the front of the room, allowing Alec a little time to take in a full account of Magnus' appearance and then give his attention to their teacher, letting his mind catalogue everything.

His skin is a caramel colour, and with the midnight black hair - which almost brushes his shoulders - and distinct facial features, marks him as at least being of Asiatic descent. But there is something that makes him think European.

The classroom erupts into noise again as their teachers stops speaking, and Alec looks guiltily towards her, ashamed of paying attention to someone else, but they never find out important things here anyway.

Sneaking a glance at Magnus, he sees that his pencil has been secured between long fingers and is rapidly sketching out the twisted hair on the head of the girl in front. Alec's gaze is caught as the image comes out of the paper.

Magnus must feel his gaze as he stops and meets Alec's eyes.

"Sorry, it was just cool watching you draw-"

"It's fine, Alexander-"


"Alec." Magnus seems to test the name, and smiles. "Drawing is my thing. Thanks for lending me the pencil, I was in such a rush that I left half of my things at home."

"It's fine."

Magnus grins again. "The office lady didn't think so. She didn't believe I was who I said I was, god knows why, so she was reluctant to give me my timetable. If I wasn't who I said I was, why would I want my timetable?" He pauses for breath and Alec chuckles softly. "It's not like it's hard to find out people's timetables anyways, so if I wanted to stalk somebody it would be easy. Speaking of, when do you have lunch, you're the only person I've talked to in this whole damned place and it's halfway through a week halfway through a term."

Alec, though bemused by whatever Magnus is talking about now, takes a paper copy of his timetable from his pencil case and hands it over.

Magnus fishes around in his satchel for a few seconds before making a noise of triumph and holds up a rumpled piece of paper.

He scans them both for a few seconds before smiling at Alec again. "This is great- not only will I be annoying you during lunch, but we have biology together!"


"I'm terrible at Bio! Please tell me you aren't working with anyone, because I need so much help it's not funny."

Alec raises an eyebrow. "For all you know, I could be crap at Bio and then we'd both be in the toilet."

Magnus waves a dismissive hand. "Oh please, you're doing Chem and Pre-Calculus. You can handle Bio. And if you're not, I'll make you do a whole lot of work so that you can teach me."

Alec shakes his head. "I'm okay at it, and if you're sure you want to work with me, then that's okay."

"Great! We have world history, too, but I'm okay at that."

Magnus must catch hold of the look in Alec's eyes. "I'm sorry about being all demanding and talkative and annoying, but that's how I am and I don't think there's no point starting a friendship if you're going to pretend otherwise." He looks slightly worried for the first time.

"It's fine. You're nowhere near as annoying as my cousin. He talks all of the time, all about himself."

Magnus laughs loudly and hands him back his timetable. "Well, now you'll know two people who do so." The bell rings and they stand up with the rest of the class. "I'll see you in later in Bio, okay?"


One last grin and Magnus is just a graceful form, moving across the room and out the door.

By the time lunch comes around, Magnus has already gathered a horde of acquaintances who call out to him from across the cafeteria.

But he sits with Alec, and jokes with him, and Alec learns that Magnus has lived the last six years in Indonesia, caring for his maternal grandparents, the ten years before that in America. Magnus somehow manages to coax more information out of Alec than he has told most people his whole life.

Magnus turns up to World History breathing hard and grinning madly, graphite smudges all over his face, and Alec finds himself praying that no one sociable and popular goes out of their way to befriend the new student, because Alec knows that he can't compare.

But nobody seems to, although Magnus talks to people as popular as Camille, who's basically queen of the senior girls and therefore of the school.

And by the time only a few weeks pass they're better friends than Alec has ever been with someone, apart from Jace.

And it feels good.

They talk and play video games and sleep over at each others houses, where Magnus talks to Izzy about anything and treats Max like an adult rather than the nine years old he is. And best of all, when his almost-cousin Jace comes to live with them because his parents, Alec's father's best friend and his wife, are on some research trip, Magnus ribs him until the fourteen year old actually displays some grudging respect. Magnus always smiles widely after spending time with Alec's siblings and it makes his chest hurt when Magnus goes home.

And it pains him even more one quiet night at Magnus' house when they've finally admitted their tiredness and turn off the games and the lights and they've been lying there in the dark for a few minutes when Magnus speaks.

"Alec, I'm bisexual."

Alec can't speak for a moment as his thoughts swirl, but he can't force those words, 'I think I'm gay', out of his mouth. Finally, he settles with "Okay."

"Okay?" Magnus' voice sounds loud and offended in the darkness. "I tell you something important like that and all you have to say is 'okay'?"

Alec rolls his eyes at Magnus' histrionics before he realises that his friends can't see him. "Magnus, you and Izzy were arguing about young Leonardo di Caprio vs more recent Leo yesterday."

An arm loomed out of the darkness and slapped him in the arm.

"So? I could have a healthy appreciation of the male physique."

Alec snorts. "And I'm Angelina Jolie."

"Please, Angelina Jolie is so not hot."

"Whatever." Alec yawns. "It's four am, can I go to sleep now?"

Magnus sighs softly, but Alec's brain is so busy shutting down that he barely hears.

"You're a cruel man, Alec Lightwood…"

Later he loves the year he was fifteen. And then he hates it again. And praises and curses it alternately the years that follow.

Somehow they don't grow apart, as Alec sees so many other people doing over the next two years of high school.

Although Magnus spends more and more time on his appearance, and Alec never sees him with smudges of graphite, charcoal or paint on him anymore unless he turns up at Magnus' house without telling him first.

He and Izzy have a wonderful time making each other over and gossiping about fashion and Jace, who lives with them still, attempts to tease him about being 'too gay to function' but Magnus just winks and smiles broadly. (When Jace had seen Mean Girls was a mystery.)

And he dates and Alec doesn't.

Alec rakes a hand through his hair - longer and shaggier than it was seven years ago - and turns away from the painting in front of him, shaking his head in an attempt to detach the darkness that's leaked in.

It doesn't work.

Maybe it all ended too late.

I hope you all enjoyed it and will keep reading :)

Reviews would be lovely If you like it, or to give any criticism or helpfulness :)